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Another Lonely Preface

Another Lonely Preface

Empires will evolve, crumble, scatter, shift, flowing. Beliefs will change and shimmer in the bouncing light.

We think that this group of people conquered that group, or these people’s ideas won out over those people’s ideas, but the truth is more complicated. Look back a little ways down the family tree and someone’s hand was forced–your forbearers too were won over by this and that culture with this amount of pleasurable, relaxing, safehavening seduction and that amount of blunt force. And both individuals and groups are actually open spaces where ideas and feelings collide: wisdom is growing kind enough for the heartofthematter to conquer, colonising the landscape with enough compassionate, honest, aware ideas and sentiments to fend off the marauders–hate, envy, greed, fear, boredom, pettiness, meanness, half-assedness, dishonesty, and the like–and allow the Light to fill the space and light the way.

The besouled will slide from one loci of thoughts/feelings/actions to another, always surging up and crashing down and drifting up and drifting down on waves of their own collective making.
Or so I heard one day in line at the drugstore, waiting to be ushered to the cash register, watching the clerk–with his long face and tall strong teeth, his roll-top forehead and square, forward-leaning jaw–nod with big eager, milk-soft eyes. “Oh yes, some people are just so blessed! I just never get over how blessed some people are!” The customer was legion–every age, every shape, every color, every accent, every worldview, every mood. Sometimes the exchange lasted longer than others, but always the need for a fair progression and smooth operation carried each purchaser away quickly and cordially, small plastic bag swinging with their speed and rhythm, perturbing it perhaps but every so slightly, imperceptibly, perhaps–who can say?–inconsequentially.
Who did I hear it from? I thought a little bird told me, but voici the chain’s spokesman:
“We can unequivocally state that company policy has no place for birds fluttering and hopping about, defecating in their bowel-less, random, drizzling way. We can further confirm that after extensive review of security footage on the day of the allegations, there were absolutely no birds in the unfortunately unfairly slandered store. Finally, we consider customer service our top-priority and shining glory, and birds giving customers wonky, impracticable, and confusing ideas about the deeper nature of things have no place in our store. Unless, of course, the customer, who in all our reflections must and does always come first, enjoys the companionship of the feathery vermin and/or self-identifies with the philosophical positions, in such instances and to such shoppers, we say this: we are with you, we support you, and, you now maybe many of us agree with the bird and its chatter–why I wouldn’t be surprised if that bird and it’s attitudes influence our business practices.”
So, who knows?

Bartleby WIllard

Introduction: Love at a Reasonable Price

Introduction: Love at a Reasonable Price

Bartleby Willard has decided to move into The Wandering Albatross Press Building and begin writing for Wandering Albatross Press. We at WAP are extremely busy capturing, reflecting, and refracting the infinite worlds swirling outside and inside of us. As such, we do not have the excess time, energy, and focus required to explain to Bartleby that you cannot just walk into publishing houses and declare yourself a live-in staff-writer. Also, on the whole we find him pleasant. Furthermore, since he sleeps on the WAP premises, it is easy for him to have the coffee ready when the rest of us arrive at about 8:00 a.m. sharp each weekday.

Finally, he is very tidy and has adopted the kitchen and library, making these two ancient and wise rooms (if places can be considered “wise”—and why not?: what’s a human being but a place for the Something Deeper to live in and through?) sparkle with a youthful and nearly (I said “nearly”!) sexual vigor. I hasten to add that he’s achieved this sparkle without compromising either room’s fundamental decency. Kitchen and Library now have more energy—giggles bubble up more often; and the infinitely expanding and all-enveloping universes born of these giggles pop with infinitely long elastic/filmy/wet kisses with a louder and fuller “smauack!” than before—but their essential kindness remains very much intact.

Bartleby is writing a series of short stories entitled Love at a Reasonable Price. He’s become interested in a kind of funny idea: manufacturing Pure Love (love that is prior to feelings and ideas and that infinitely accepts, lifts-up, cares-for, helps, and gives) in a fictional factory, transferring that Pure Love into reality, and selling It affordably yet still profitably on the open market. “And voilà: the first truly useful business in human history!”

We at WAP understand that you cannot manufacture Pure Love in fictional factories, transport It into reality, and then market and sell It to other people. Additionally, we are not even sure that if you could, you should. But! of course you can’t. Anyway, Pure Love already gives Itself infinitely to everyone and everything, so selling it is even more ridiculous than selling air or that delicious self-dom sensed as you gaze out at nothingmuch, watching your own watching grow quiet and sharp.

Does Bartleby know all this? Mmm. He seems to consider this project of his a joke. However, he takes jokes amazingly seriously, so seriously that one is tempted to say, “That man believes in jokes! My God! He really does!”.

Let’s you and I resolve to be reasonable, to let him have his fun but hunker way down into the wholesome knowledge that no one—not even the elastically spinning Bartleby Willard of the poignantly explosive Wandering Albatross Press—sells Pure Love.

But what wares does Bartleby, with his face soot-smudged and his old tin cup looped into his thick leather belt, peddle? Some stories about manufacturing, marketing, and selling Pure Love. And some other stories. And by “stories” we mean whatever Bartleby means by “stories.” And Bartleby Williard is not much of a literalist.

Bartleby will write what he writes and we’ll keep a running tally in the “Chapters” section.


And so it began, years and years ago now. I kept falling this way and that, but–one end of a thick, scratchy, fraying rope around my waist and the other anchored to a vaguely evolving plan–my staggering went round and round this project, winding me into it more and more; and now it’s time to push my long imaginary hands against the rusty iron bars (square staves twisted like drill bits) and shudder as the forgotten manor gate swings wide open with a piercing shriek or a mournful, yawning three-stage creak; or just squeaks a little forward and then, overgrown with vines not just emotionally but physically as well, bounces back at me.

I hope the project goes well. I hope it is good for writer, reader, and the space between. I appreciate you spending money, time, and focus on this book; I’ll try to make it worth your while.


Bartleby Willard
June 17, 2015, 7:35pm
Midtown Manhattan Library

PS: I think I’ll alternate stories of making, manufacturing, advertising, and selling Pure Love with stories about my life and times at WAP.

Oh, and this one more time:

But insofar as this is a commercial venture, we still need it fundamentally grounded not in profit-motive, but in kind-delight. So cross your fingers for us; say a prayer for us; keep a gentle but stern, a wary but hopeful eye on us. Help us to try.

Afternote: What is this? It is an introduction to the “Love at a Reasonable Price” blogbook project. The bulk of it was written ages ago–absolutely lightyears ago! And then BW tacked on that extra bit while pausing his commotion at the Midtown Manhattan Library some gently warm June eve. Originally, it was just in the evolving ebook, but now it is here up on the worldwide web for the widest possible audience. We’re slowly putting together two ebooks titled “Love at a Reasonable Price” and “Diary of an Adamant Seducer”. Access to the ongoing attempt can be found here: Buy the Books. For a list of what we’ve currently posted in “Love at a Reasonable Price”, go here: Intro to Love at a Reasonable Price; for a list of what so far constitutes “Diary of an Adamant Seducer”: Intro to Diary of an Adamant Seducer.

Chapter 4: BW Dreamtime #1

Chapter 4: BW Dreamtime #1

[Chapters of Diary of an Adamant Seducer]

[Update November 2021: We’re back at Diary of Adamant Seducer. We’ll try to bundle it into a book someday. For now the chapters are linked to above. See Buy Our Books for the books we’ve already completed.]

Warning Warning: I’ve revised this piece a lot and I’m not so sure it requires or benefits from a Warning or an Embarrassed Afterward. Yet, vacillating between possible interpretations and reluctant to undo all my fine stitching, I’ve left both these sections in the piece.

Warning: This story has some lewd language and some crackling crazed lonely frustration. I wrote it all by myself during my residence in the uppermost room. After crunching winter gives way to snappling spring, I often notice how much crunching winter oppresses the very soul. After the Bandit Sprites upped the wood-framed, paint-peeling window and, fluttering on all sides, guided and secured me as I pawingly backward-tiptoed my way down the shaky top branches of the enormous, black-chested old oak, and after this same dark-forest-based band of generous and legitimately grieved rebels gradually and painstakingly introduced me to human society — to fist-before-mouth clearing one’s throat at the solid oak dinner table; to the flutter of fans and eyelashes at elaborate soirees thrown by the town’s luminaries; to uneasy shoulder-fidgets with hands thrust in pockets and eyes vainly searching a friendly flash –; after this long, costly, forced integration, I reflected on what had been, and, upon reflection, my heart broke over my erstwhile loneliness and how the complete-cocooning of lonely lonely down deep lonely partially hides it from the mind but not at all from the heart and the fingertips.

I’m going to try again to soften the soft porn into something even softer and to shave off a little of the most grotesquely baroque catcalling, but I feel a need to let this piece testify to the time of its birth — an awkward time marked by extreme intellectual, emotional, and bodily frustrations –, so I’l have to retain a lot that — bristle brush on bare foot — discomfits. Oh, man was I ever a mess! Not at all like my nowadays, where every strand is safely secured and beautifully integrated.

But more than that: I endeavor to preserve the essence of this rough romp not just as testimony to a time that held and shook me in those kitten-in-a-sack days beside an isolated bend in the small goosebumpling stream; but also because I’m convinced that many of the jangles the more jangly aspects of this piece catch into and spread-sparkle-out exist not merely in me and my yesterself, but in human life as a general phenomenon and in the spirit of the times. Which brings me to a larger point:

Though the Truth is perfectly blessed and incapable of any offense, in our physio-mental forms we largely skippity skip across the Truth like small flat river-rounded rock-wafers sidearmed by flush-faced young boys discussing weaponry, sports, and girls. Therefore, art’s reflection of the human moment, though properly centered around the radiant radiance at a human’s core, is sometimes justified in speaking indulgent half-truths — sometimes this enables a work to better chip out a story about how life might sometimes feel. For more on the topic of allowing non-Platonic Forms into art, while still yet holding that any given speck of art should find its foundation in and ultimately reduce to Beauty = Truth = Goodness = Justice = The Overflow of Pure Love, see below, where I add yet another inch to this preface.

Another inch to the preface: I here and now quote from an introductory remark to a story that isn’t this one and that’s not yet been released into this blogbook, but that, especially as touches the remarked upon circumstances, shares some features with this piece:

In the “Samples” section of this site, you can read a story about a hard-driving production manager at a Love manufacturing plant [no you can’t; there is no Samples section; that was an old idea; this story will, revised and perhaps reintroduced, probably appear in “Love at a Reasonable Price” before too too long, but it isn’t there now]. That this man, for all his charms, is a little sexist and anti-intellectual, is the fault of neither author nor publisher. Employees of Love manufacturing plants are just the same as the rest of us—imperfect yet essentially beautiful creations. And we at WAP believe that within the safe folds of fiction, characters should be allowed to be themselves (fiction being a type of poetry that doesn’t claim to contain any truth except poetic truth, and that is therefore not as dangerous as scientific treatises, political essays, religious revelations, mystical experiences, or any other writings that claim to be in some obvious and fundamental way “correct”; this maxim being sometimes rather tragically undone and voided when dogmatic philosophies masquerade as fictions).


BW Dreamtime #1

What hey, Bartleby! How goes it? You draw yourself up into existence. Yes! Now you’re a sparkler! Now you’re white hot hotter than hot! Now you’re the inside of an empty lair! Not the dank cool air! You know what I mean! So get on up, Bartleby.

You add layer upon layer atop this essential something that makes a living creature more than the sum total of its thoughts, feelings, actions, and story times. You’re making yourself up, Bartleby.

But how now? and wil I nil I! How can I be real if I’ve no conscious watching? It’s all well and good for a fictional creature to be allowed into the general melee of What Is, but how is he any more there than an old dresser drawer that someone made and gave away as a gift and that means a little something to a conscious mind here and there but is itself not conscious at all? I can give myself ideas and feelings and What Is can accept me and shine through me and know me as I really am — just as It does for every other little drop of detail in this infiniti of detail-rich universes that are the outward manifestations of some deepest darkest driving Light. But still I’m not there, still I’m no real boy, still I’m a pinocchio who’ll never get the magic, trapped forever in a still-life that others can imagine into motion but that does not really move. I don’t move at all! Oh, let me be a part of it! I want to stand up and look about!

All right, Bartleby–it’s all right. When was it? Do you recall when the illustrious founders of the Wandering Albatross Press and their fellow citizens formed themselves and their city? They too drew themselves out of the mists of history and stone that always swirl together to form the present. But you weren’t there, were you? No, you’re new to this place. You just remember–what is it you just remember?

Coming down from the mountain, flowing down the mountain like a waterflow, the mountain flowing into me and me into it, the children on the shore laughing and throwing scattering pebbles into the water, the children on the shore flowing into me and their parents who stood on top of the bank, facing the other way, worshipping the sun and the moon, their own passionate parts, the love of their friends and families, the call of the mourning dove,–any false idol they could get their still misty, still forming and unforming hands around. But they couldn’t really hold anything. To this day they can’t, none of us can. It is our salvation.

All right, Bartleby, it’s all right, you needn’t impress us with your prophecies and wisdom! We like you just fine as you really are–a dirty faced little peasant boy with grubs in his pockets and hair. Come on down from your mountains, be real with us for a second! Not even Moses spent every second showing off! Everybody needs to stop lying once in a while. Oh, but that’s not possible. And neither is lying. Just always this mushy gooshy in-between truth. Smash, Bartleby! I’m sorry for this! I wanted to have the place tidied up, better organized, and more wholesome before you got here. I goofed around too much.

I, Bartleby, glopped around too much in the time before I created myself and so now I am apologizing to myself as I create myself in the desert that is now fading and giving way to the moorlands, their thick gray sky and scraggly, prickly, ground-hugging greens and browns.

When Bartbley entered the grand old kitchen, he thought of knights and battles, of swords that didn’t hang on wood-panel walls but that were held high above your head and brought down onto the body of some other living human being. He was nineteen and the kitchen made him think of men who fought bloody hell and in so doing made bloody hell and loved and hated and ate and drank and screwed and slashed and sooner or later got bashed down dead in bloody hell. He felt inadequate.

I am drawing up plans. I’ve entered into this place and I’ve seen its rules. They are stuffy and lonely but people need rules and they always hurt very badly, claw very deep, make wounds that fester and leave you alone to die with your nose pressed against the glass looking in at a happy scene of people feeling comfortable and being pleasant without soiling themselves by pretending that suffering and meanness don’t exist or don’t matter or don’t hurt or are just fine anyhow. How is it that it is like this for me? Is this window pane a trick? Are we all glassed in by trick windows showing us scenes about people who are neither wretched nor evil? But why? Just to give us the idea that such a life is possible and freely available to human beings and our wretched evilness is our own damned and damning fault?

I’m sorry, Bartleby. Forgive my constant flippancy, my inability to take anyone or anything seriously enough to care one way or the other about them. It’s just how we’ve grown into this place, like a tree that grows around a wire fence or rock or some other foreign object that’s incapable of either halting growth or allowing growth to continue without perversion. We didn’t know how to react to the options they gave us–either a God who made no sense and was mean and boring or a smiling, fopastic and/or positivatic, proudly meaningless but yet somehow still vain and morally self-righteous relativism. So we just sort of farted, or exploded, or splatted, or splattered, or whatever these loud and dramatic give-ups that underlie our words and deeds are. Let’s do better! I want to do better! If only there was a “better” I could both believe in and understand!

You’re right, I should shut up and quit boasting. The world has as many philosophies as it has moments of conscious thought. And …

But no “and”, because I’m shutting up.

But here, roll out the parchment again, trace your fingers over thin black lines on tan and browning, edges&creases-blackening, crumbling, curling surface. Remind you of something? The lines are the marks we and all other moving bodies and moving minds leave upon life–they are what can be seen, heard, tasted, felt, remembered, reverse-engineered. Notice how the lines long ago deep seeped into this flayed, liquor-soaked, and stretch-dried goat hide; and mark how now, in our era, these careful, nimble letters crumble to dust along with their barbaric paper. Likewise! Likewise do edifices created out of some combination of thought and action and inevitably interwoven into this too-crumbly material world,–likewise do they disappear along with their homeland. But not the happenstance of them! Not the act of writing, of doing itself. That stays forever in what has been. As, to be sure, does God’s recollection of the configurations that were, are, and will be. So, watch it! Privilege and responsibility! Watch it!

Sorry, you’re right. Here, why don’t you tell me about your plan. It might help to clarify your thinking. At the very least it will hush me up and so allow the air time to revive, reproduce itself and once again fill this candle-lit room on the second floor of an old mansion (see the candles flicker and blossom as the air recovers!). Look at that view of the moors when the clouds let a sizable chunk of the shiny but tarnished moon button through. It’s really something, all those black silhouettes of rolling hills and the faint sketches of a curly black chest hair growing in flowing, lightly- and unpredictably-undulating patches.

Thank you, thank you for the invitation to speak. I want to make bold my plans.

Oh, look at you when you stand up in that tight-fitting shirt and those well-worn jeans! You’re a pretty one! I bet there’s lots of pretty young women who’d like to have you try and prove that you can sparkle with enough wit and honesty to be worthy of a trying-out. Then all you need to do is to hold and complete them well enough to be worthy of their love and respect; then you’re golden–all set, not lonely dead inside anymore. Wouldn’t that be nice?

I’m pretty?

Sure you are! Your lines manly without being harsh. And your musculature! It isn’t ferocious; it doesn’t knock down doors with one swing of an anvil-sized fist. But it is pretty and it could maybe even convince if you knew how to get backbone into your backbone. But I feel a squeamish squirming faltering in you. I think I turn away. I think I am a young woman who’d thought there might be something worth holding onto in that soft dark hair who is now bored, unhappy, dissatisfied and so not even going to listen to your next sentence; I think I’m already waiting you out, looking past you, looking for a way to make my way across the sea of chit chat atop which plastic cups full of light yellow beer and exuberant but largely unsubstantiated friendships float. I’ll find a man who I can honestly believe has a decent chance of being able to prove it to me, go there with me, become it with me. Goodbye, joke of a man.

Stop it! Get out of here! Go away! I’ll work on my plans by myself! You are not a good friend! You are not good for me to spend time with! Go away!

All right, already. Have it your way. But what’s a fictional character going to do on his own? People need people, Bartleby. Even fictional people do. You need someone, even if it is just your own self in a sort of cock-eyed and arrogantly tedious mood.

I don’t need you! I’ll never escape any of the possibilities within me; still, perhaps I can push towards something better.

Captain of industry. I walk with a quick and self-assured gait. I talk with the same sharp-edged rhythm. Even my laughs are staccato realizations of a confidence that doesn’t even need to be mean or lord it over you anymore. But can I?–can I really keep from being evil?

The concreted floors beneath my soft-soled dress shoes. The geese-in-flight configuration with assistants and well-wishers widening behind me, dragging off of me while my strong and energetic mind explains what we’ll do when. Large concrete cylinders and cylindrical steel pipes. A symphony of steel and hard-plastic containers and cauldrons bubbling and cooling, liquids in various shades of various colors flowing and stagnating in cylinders of all sizes and proportions, running and bending in all conceivable–at least in Euclidean space–directions.

Which reminds me! Make a memo! Take this down: get the lab rats to see if we can’t make better use of non-Euclidean space. I hate to see things go to waste–even things I can’t actually see but can only mathematically formulate.

(Wait! I’ve heard something encouraging about our performance in non-Euclidean space! Wait! I don’t understand it! I really don’t. What?!? Are those some kind of numbers? How do they relate to profits? How many do I have to gather up to get my baby that coat of many magical and Biblically-resplendit colors that she keeps nudging my overworked shoulders about? [Note: That joke was added November 2021, before reading the following, which i suppose was originally written like 2011-12-13-or-something-long-ago-at-any-rate.])

“Yes sir, Mr. Bartleby!”

Good, good, and I like your legs in those power tights beneath your power skirt and power suit jacket. How powerful must be the flower out of which so much beauty and power flow and around which you orbit in every direction and spot at once–electron style.

“Thank you, sir. I only wish I could love a man and accept his potential into my propensities without having to simultaneously imbibe small but potent potential-killing machines. But you know how it is–I’ve got things to accomplish. Anyway, there’s too many people in the world anyhow.”

Too true! Too many people and not enough efficiency! And who needs fatherhood or motherhood, who needs sex with a chance of sticking? Who needs all these old addictions of primitive peoples? Of course, if we’ve seen past all that, why pretend that men coaxing burgeoned thighs and women nuzzling hearty hairy burly heart-bursting chests are worth time and effort? And why imagine that love between a man and a woman is anything but the dirty fraud it keeps acting like?

“Well said, sir. Even so, I want to hold you and lead your rhythm into mine–via our ancient mechanisms, if at all possible. Though, of course the love I crave is impossible to attain–or even countenance. Still, at least now we’re wise enough to know that things like true love and real goodness and a truly meaningful life are all empty illusions. At least we know enough to not get our hopes up anymore; and also to quick-and-definitive thumb our noses at the dumb dumb suckers who do–there’s some satisfaction in that, in being wise.”

Mmmm. Yeah…Write this down: I, Bartleby Willard, having created myself out of loneliness, whimsy, and some deep rich, running, soaked-in-syrup love, do hereby declare myself a captain of industry who is not completely worthless. OK, and under that write: Let me be more precise. How long has this economy dragged on, using up the world and everybody’s time, energy, and focus to make more and more things we don’t need, forcing us all to work all the time just to have enough money to buy the things we do need, while concomitantly corrupting us into lusting and working after what we don’t need–often don’t even particularly like or even want? How long must we wear ourselves out making and brain-breathing junk and thereby so thoroughly exhausting and eroding ourselves that–humans turned burnt-out and stripped-down old cars on the side of thoroughfares in economically desperate, inadequately policed cityscapes–we end up spending all our leftover time and energy and focus buying and using junk? How long?! I don’t know, but I for one am not participating.

[November 2021 aside: When my father drove through NYC in the 70s, abandoned cars lined the highways, desperation bled from its pores. What will happen if the SCOTUS forces New Yorkers to allow guns to flow unchecked through every bit of this bunched-up, crowded, throb-dreaming city? Will it go back to danger-time? Will everyone who can take off and leave everyone who can’t to the violence and the trouble? Or not? Who knows? Do they care? How much time do they spend on the NYC subway? Do they understand that dogmas never reach either human realities or Divine Reality? Do they know that God is completely free of dogmas? Do they? Do you, dear reader? Do I, dear writer?]

“I work out at the gym three times a week and take walks on my lunch break. I avoid sugar and grains and genetically modified foodstuffs. I look and feel and feel good. My breasts. Did you notice how full and round they are? As if they had some kind of purpose. Though I can’t guess what that might be. Perhaps they’re needed as a bridge spanning our wishful edges. Maybe they’re a clue that men and women can share a certain type of love. Or did I just say they couldn’t? But of course they can’t. Still we will force love into existence, we’ll do it by pushing into each other with everything we have and then, somehow …. by harnessing the great power of existential stands … you know? …. ”

Mmmm. Yeah… So then write: You know how mean and gross everyone is? You know how they say they love each other but men just like pretty women and women just like men who know how to fight with at least apparent effectiveness and have the tools and know-how to hold them tight and knock them out, or who at least wield enough power over the reigning baubledom to sluice off a significant stream of baubles for themselves and their affections? You know how they say a family is love but parents just sneak off to little alcoves in the hills where they can hug each other and their children and pretend that only caring about a handful of people while ignoring everyone else is some kind of a great virtue? Well, I’ve had enough of that shit.

“It’s just no good this way, sir. No one’s good enough for me and I’m not good enough for anyone. You look very nice in your well-tailored suit, and your body seems shaped to share with me–to take my kisses and caresses and make sense out of them. But even you, mighty captain of industry, leading a throng of well-paid auxiliaries through a mess of pipes, fumes, drips, and hard-hatted, sweat-drenched worker-men, even you aren’t quite good enough for me. I’d get bored, turn my head aside, think I could do better, feel like I was being wasted, needed more, someone who wasn’t so this, was a little more that. And though I’m still young and my body engaging and my mind and heart formed to fit your mind and heart like soft, slender hand in elegant evening glove–still you’d not love me. Not for very long. And the moment you spotted a sag in my body or a slip in my mind or a wavering in my heart: excuse! ‘Good, now I get to dump her and stop wasting myself on this unworthy sea shell!'”

Mmmm. Yeah… So get this down: Love between human beings is always greedy and pretending relative freedom from greed just makes it meaner and more perverted. The love of the Saints and mystics is selfish too–it lets them be joyful and good while the rest of us are yucky inside and out. I will make a better sort of love. I will make pure, pure, pure love. Be sure to capitalize “Pure” and “Love”. I will brew up batch after batch of Pure Love and I will market it honestly and sell it for a fair price. I will be someone who isn’t completely awful; I will be the first of my kind; I will be someone who isn’t awful through and through. Did you get all that?

“Yes sir.”

Sounded kind of ridiculous when I actually said it outloud. But how does it look on paper? Sometimes writing statements down has a way of sanding rough edges and setting glistening dew beads into vagueries, obfusications, and hand-waving pauses.

“Hard to say, sir. We are walking at such a fast and useful pace that my penmanship is affected and the words look a little jarred and desperate.”

Maybe if we had a better idea of what made human beings so awful … it has something to do with how they are all scam artists: charlatans feigning insight into what is good and beautiful and decent and full of life. Something to do with how they make like they’re actively pursuing this knowledge of what is worthwhile–like they actually mean to actualize it, to actually bring worthiness into existence … something to do with their cheap scaminess … so bad, bad, bad, people are so bad bad bad … Yes, get that down, write that in the meeting notes, draft it into memos, bring it before the board and the stockholders and the consumers–really rub my knowledge of their depravity in, run it in, don’t let them think I don’t know …

The Pure Love factory whirls all around the busy and important people. Liquids and gasses flow and slosh. Solids push and pull, spin and fling, narrow and widen, begin and end. Men dripping sweat manipulate large objects with burst after burst of precise, powerful, all body movement; women in cool perfumed air, sitting tall and proud on plush round rumps, can-can their sweet slender fingers into and out of the metal-cup keys of rat-a-tat-tatting metal typewriters. Bottle upon countless bottle fills with Pure Love. Wooden file cabinet after light brown stained wooden filing cabinet fills with typed reports, memos, documents of all lengths and cadences detailing the business of Pure Love.

Why all the fuss, Bartleby? Why the creation of a fictional reality in which you can be a mighty industrialist inexpensively massproducing Pure Love? We all have that kind of Love within us, the kind that just loves and does not ask for anything in return. The kind that loves everyone and no one above another one, that accepts everything and everyone while all the same requiring more and better kind active awareness from every drop and every collection of drops and every collection of collections of drops …. We all, each of us and together as everything, have that already. We are it. It is our Alpha and our Omega, our beginning and our end, our parts and our whole. Reality is nothing but this: from one perspective, 100% Pure Love (the undifferentiated: the whole: prior to all specifics) sitting infinitely and eternally still and pretty; from another perspective, 100% Pure Love (the undifferentiated: the whole: prior to all specifics) exploding through all manner of specific thoughts and feelings, stones and songs, avowals and denials, dried sandy desert creek beds and lush green-overflowing Pacific Northwest river valleys. This whole universe-wide operation is nothing but the formless Pure Love forming specific objects out of its infinite, eternal, and not even a little bit specific self. Pure Love–by virtue of the necessity inherent within infinite potentials paired with an infinite lack of need–explodes infinitely, shaping worlds out of Itself and playing out dramas within Itself. Everyone knows that, though we know nothing else–details being what they always are: neither all that captivating nor all that knowable/understandable/believable.

Why all the trouble? The giant brick factory with great cedars imported from Lebanon to hold up black asphalt shingled roofs hand delivered from sooty English factory town? The toil of muscled men in blue jeans and white cotton tank tops (not wife-beaters! The holes for the neck and arm are smaller and the shirts fit tightly, wholesomely and healthily rippling with the muscles of V-backed and sidewaysB-chested men). The rumble of executives trying to decide whether it would be politically wiser to agree or disagree with what had just been said. The squeak of middle managers trying to eke out a decent product within a reasonable budget while making both those above and below them believe they’re on their side. And the straight-backed, rosebud-butte secretaries with their firm, upward-yearning bossoms! How their fingers fly! How much progress they record! And the recording of progress is itself progress! So you see how it feeds on itself and grows ever greater, engorged with the blood of self-love turned outward, actively seeking other-love, almost even, maybe yes perhaps believing in other and that it might need to love and be loved, that it might be the sort of thing that you could be friends with.

Why all the trouble, Bartleby? We already have an infinite and eternal supply of Pure Love. In fact, there’s nothing but Pure Love. The problem is not one of supply nor even of demand. The problem has to do with bioavailability. You best get yourself a lab coat, a few PHDs, and a blithe disrespect for everything that can’t be measured or fit into an abstract formal system.

No? Not that type of science? Well, what then, Bartleby? The great boxes of corrugated aluminum where you house your wares are fast filling their front-to-back and floor-to-ceiling steel-shelves. People are lined up for miles in front of the stores scheduled to sell your wares “like pretty soon” (I’m reading from your own business plan, Bartleby! There’s irony in my tone? You bet there is! Because that’s no way to write a business plan). What are you going to do? Tell them they can buy Pure Love and It is not too pricey and since It is infinite, one small initial investment should be sufficient? But the marketing boys have already tucked all those messages into hilarious and carefree but still heart-felt and human-oriented ad campaigns! The question is just how to make this Pure Love useful to your customers. You didn’t market this as a novelty item. The idea wasn’t just to put Pure Love on the mantelpiece next to grandma’s ashes and Uncle Frank’s work-release paperwork. You were supposed to be able to consume the Pure Love and it was supposed to make you better, stronger, wiser, kinder, more fully alive. Like you’d become yourself in a way that was OK, was Good, True, Beautiful, Just, Alive. To make the fire within burn clean and bright, using up all of you and turning it all into a full-blaze life that didn’t waste anything.

Written by Bartleby Willard some number of lonely lonely lonely years ago.
Now read-over and spot-revised by editor Andy Watson and author Bartleby Willard.
Published by Andrew Watson

Embarrassed Afteward:
I’m a little embarrassed by how young and romantically uncoordinated this writing selection portrays me, the hero of this self-writing novel. But, what’re you gonna do? We all have our bobbly youths–some just last a very long time; and some just get retroinvented along with everything else. What of my stories are from memory and what are from imagination? I know at some point I started making myself up, but which of my memories come before my initial self-invention ex-nihilo and which come after? What if I can’t remember anymore? What then? What now? For me!, for me to find some way to find my way!–?!–!?

The piece enjoys a large expanse of pages–like five or six more than one sees without the magic key that unlocks rolled-up words. I’ve placed this piece in Love at a Reasonable Price because, though autobiographical, it is from the time before time and not this current helter skelter. For more on what goes into Diary of an Adamant Lover and what goes into Love at a Reasonable Price, see below. Access to both evolving ebooks sold for a total of US$10 at this place: Buy the Books/Chapter

[Update November 2021: This isn’t true. We didn’t put this into “Love at a Reasonable Price”. I don’t know where the full version of this piece got to. Anyway, it’s like ten years later, and in the meanwhiles I’ve had to admit that I’m just another guy who can’t really want anything but his wife and their happy home. I had to admit that deep inside I just want a safe place to love and be loved. Someone who wouldn’t turn away when I told her all the things I couldn’t admit to even myself ten years ago. What is a man? He’s hardly anything at all. He’s just a collection of drives and wishes connected to some whirling engine and its driving rods. He’s just another monkey sitting on a branch, looking down at the valley, vaguely nervous about eagles from above and pythons from along, but also vaguely in awe of the fire inside and the undulating interwoven expanses outside. People are lonely deep inside. Only God shares everything they are. But it is nice to find someone who can at least hear about the things you know about, who can at least hold what you are willing and able to inhabit. Don’t be so hard on people. Be gentle and gently work to push their systems and hearts towards the better. Give them a break. Give yourself a break. Wisdom is God’s alone, yet wisdom is ours to the degree we go easy on everyone.]

[Chapters of Diary of an Adamant Seducer]

From Forever and Forever Ago:

About this project:

We’re letting Bartleby write his book; we’re even publishing it for him; it is two loosely bound sketchbooks:

(1) Love at a Reasonable Price: Stories of his magically timeless time here at Wandering Albatross Press interspersed with writings from that time or from now but somehow connected to that time–stories about manufacturing, marketing, distributing, and selling Pure Love;
(2) Diary of an Adamant Lover: Stories of his current time here all alone with the quiet squeaking floorboards and the rats thumping in the ceiling: Stories of his cries for help in the ruins of Wandering Albatross Press, the black and dark time after the hope and before the answer. We’re splitting this one into two sections: Biographical (writings that mostly relate the current movements of BW, AMW, and the rest of the WAP gang are ex) and Essayish (writings that mostly stay within a certain thought entertained and cultivated by the author and/or his editor).

Both books sold as they evolve here:
Buy the Books/Chapter
That page also includes a current list of chapters for each book.

Actually, the posts of Diary of an Adamant Lover probably won’t ever require a subscription. Still, with a subscription, you get a nicely ebound eevolving ebook compilation of the writings, and you get a quick buy eye-connecting “Thank you” from AW and BW as they bow their way out of the subway car with nothing but the clothes on their backs and the songs in their lungs.

This blog will consist of extracts from the book’s chapters as they are released into the lumiferous aether. You can buy BW’s book as he writes it here. You can also consider this blog a long advertisement for Wandering Albatross Press’s some-such-several wonderful products; like . You can also view this blog as it’s own thing–a good unto itself–and as such a sweet, chaste little kiss running through the infomaterous aether (the theory of a lumiferous ether through which electromagetic waves move is no longer widely accepted and its originators all long dead; it is very much in the public domain and so publishing houses, such as the beautiful WAP, can use it any way they please). But insofar as this is a commercial venture, we still need it fundamentally grounded not in profit-motive, but in kind delight. So cross your fingers for us; say a prayer for us; keep a gentle but stern, a wary but hopeful eye on us. Help us to try. Or at least let us try.

Author: Bartleby Willard, fictional character

Copyright holder/editor: Andrew Mackenzie Watson (of the Sand Springs Watsons)

From “The Pitch”

From “The Pitch”

[This is the beginning of “The Pitch”, which is part of “First Loves”, available on this site for $2.99 (see “Buy the Books”). So, yeah: basically free. The effort is clicking into your Amazon or B&N account, and then taking the time to read it. We’re not saying you should. We’re just saying it’s here if you feel so moved.]

The Pitch!

A Note on the Text:

This story is one of several dozen Olden Times IIVa1 (OT IIVa1) Skullvalley After Whistletown Booksellers (SAWB) texts, written with gritty charcoal ink on supple papyrus parchment and preserved in near mint condition by the brittle air of the Relatively Great Desert in what is now The Old West, USA.
Through how many world-cycles these wonderful tales slumbered, resting in oblivion as only decoderless information can! But then suddenly in 1832, for no apparent reason (though most commentators agree some peeved god or goddess must surely have been involved), the rich soft silky-smooth silence was shattered when self-celebrated mountainman Constantine Clement George, while recreationally blasting a mile or so outside the small tumbleweed town of Gull’s Gulch, unearthed three long tunnels burrowed into sandstone cliffs 150 feet above the desert floor. Investigating, George discovered—in chambers decorated with all the antiquated pomp of a pharaoh’s tomb—six slender clay jars stuffed with tightly rolled parchments.

George, a self-described “romantic robin a pecking at the egg forever and evermore”, initially used the priceless archaeological find as a rendezvous for “the more hightided, and of sorts cultured ladies”. But, despite one and all pledging “to herefore in the future not now nor never reveal nor hint upon nor never ever so much as wink coy as respecting the whereabouts of this sacred and holy alcove where the spirit of knowing and the dove of roosting do together combine to one another; and for if I do divulge whatsoever of these exalted hollows or their indubitous inhabitants, I pray that God may in holy and righteous vengeance strike me dead, having first, by especial intervention of the Holy Spirit — which I understand to be, by miraculous divinity, in indubitabilty no other than, but yet also in that same authenticated indubulation other than, God the Father ‘Ol Pops — ripped forthwith out my tongue and eyes, and, in due salutation of my abjection, flung them onto the floor, be it ever so becrudded”, at least some of the chorus girls, prostitutes, and — if Constantine’s braggadocio can be trusted — “some goodly count of respectable damatsells of white and blameless knickers” began to talk. And so, after Clement had enjoyed almost six months of “blameless spirituous joy”, the local authorities confiscated the site and strictly forbade “all antenuptial cavortations in and around but not limited to caves of ancient learning”.

But strange and heart-rending to report, the Gull’s Gulch authorities proved singularly incapable of grasping the value of the find or their duty to human knowledge (it is beneath me as a man of science to dwell on the incompetence of others, but it is outside me as a man of conscious to not cry a loud and forceful “Foul!!!!!” on the clearly willful ignorance and grubby-mindedness of the ruling elite [such as they were] of Gull’s Gulch throughout the entire 19th Century: !!IDIOTS!!). Things went terribly wrong and the precious documents entered a dark and dangerous time. The details so sicken my educated gut and tremble my scholarly fingers that I cannot bear relate the shameful mishandling of the single most important source of Olden Times SAWB cultural history.

{Editor’s Note:
The scholarly intro goes on in this vein for a while, and then it is signed by:

Bartholomew von Ooblichstein,
WAP Studies, Didd State University
Summer Break (hooray!) 2015

And then the Text proper begins.}

The whole thing is always copyright by AMW, whatever that is.

Blog Book Project Introduction

Blog Book Project Introduction

Blog Book Introduction

Hello Worlds!

This is Love at a Reasonable Price, a blog and a book by the fictional Bartleby Willard, an originally unbidden but now beloved writer-in-residence at Wandering Albatross Press, the world’s only truly eternal (existing prior to timespace and within every momentspot) publishing house.

The plan: Each week, Bartleby, who has been writing and forgetting for years, and his editor Andy Watson, who has been sheepishly shrugging his shoulders for years, will select something from the dusty pile; edit and otherwise complete it; write a blog entry that in some way compliments the selection; and then release the former into an evolving ebook and the latter into this blog.

For intro and access to the ebook, float up to the upper right hand corner of this blog–up to the “Buy the Book” link; or just fall yourself through this Book Link. What will Bartleby’s wondrous first book be? Will it be anything at all? Hmmmm. Buying this evolving and so not yet evolved book is a risk of ten US American dollars. But purchasing literary endeavors is always a risk of time and money (insofar as time = money, we can speak of a risk of timemoney).

Please keep in mind that this blog is enmeshed within the international capitalistic economy. Not only is it hawking a book version of itself, it is raising awareness for the entire product line of Wandering Albatross Press, which currently includes TOTES DECORATED WITH WHIMSYING CATS

But to return to the fly-by-night within this book writing procedure: Yes, I, Bartleby Willard, your author, your dashing young novelty, am still the sorcerer’s understudy. Perhaps, indeed most likely or rather almost certainly, any book that arrives through the above outlined process will be but a sketchbook, a book of literary doodles. How could such a wildly respectable publishing house publish the sketchbook of a young, wind-swept, wave-tossed, bramble-beaten, muddy-eyed fictional personage? But Wandering Albatross Press, you see, has a great affinity for great sweeping works of doodling. And no one here in the WAP office in Somewhere Sometime Wall Street; I say, no one here can stand another year of BW writing, AMW shrugging, and the papers piling up and up and up. So let them try something! Anything! Please!

Enough; it is not time for me to write a novel, nor even a collection of short stories, and yet it is time for me to write something, and so here comes this jumble tumble. But with some kind of cohesion: Much will be said about manufacturing, marketing, distributing, and selling Pure Love (an eternal good: the essential core of all particular loves;–giving infinitely, without looking for any justification or recompense); and much about Wandering Albatross Press and its new uninvited, unhired, but befriended and encouraged author.

Yours in the inevitability of kindness and the incidentallity of all else,

Bartleby Willard, self-imposed live-in staff writer for the bemused Wandering Albatross Press
Not so very long ago
The thundering Wandering Albatross Press Building at sometime somewhere Wall Street, NYC


The long-play version of this introduction includes another possible explanation for the contradictory plot lines, some charming metaphysical assumptions, and a few other flourishes. The book is

We do sell Cat Totes


About this project:

We’re letting Bartleby write his book; we’re even publishing it for him; it is a loosely bound sketchbook: stories of his time here at Wandering Albatross Press interspersed with writings from that time or from now but somehow connected to that time; the supplementary writings will be mostly stories about manufacturing, marketing, distributing, and selling Pure Love. This blog will consist of extracts from the book’s chapters as they are released into the lumiferous aether. You can buy BW’s book as he writes it here. You can also consider this blog a long advertisement for Wandering Albatross Press’s some-such-several wonderful products; like . You can also view this blog as it’s own thing–a good unto itself–and as such a sweet, chaste little kiss running through the infomaterous aether (the theory of a lumiferous ether through which electromagetic waves move is no longer widely accepted and its originators all long dead; it is very much in the public domain and so publishing houses, such as the beautiful WAP, can use it any way they please). But insofar as this is a commercial venture, we still need it fundamentally grounded not in profit-motive, but in kind delight. So cross your fingers for us; say a prayer for us; keep a gentle but stern, a wary but hopeful eye on us. Help us to try. Or at least let us try.

Author: Bartleby Willard, fictional character

Copyright holder/editor: Andrew Mackenzie Watson (of the Sand Springs Watsons)